IBM is reviewing its entire global external communications needs in
a bid to consolidate its retained PR network from 50 firms to just a
handful - a move which could see more than 12 UK and European agencies
knocked off its roster.
The computer giant is carrying out a complete roster overhaul,
repitching every piece of PR business currently outsourced across the
In the UK, a raft of consultancies will be affected by the decision,
including Brodeur Worldwide, TSI Communications and AxiCom.
It is believed a total of nearly pounds 30m fees could be up for grabs
in the mammoth repitch.
IBM vice-president of corporate PR Edward Barbini confirmed Requests for
Proposals (RFPs) had already been sent out to 'selected' agencies.
Industry sources have speculated that close to 100 firms have been
'We have invited people to bid for the large contracts and it's up to
them how they want to approach it,' said Barbini, hinting at possible
partnerships between agencies.
IBM has restructured its PR into three divisions, to align it with the
company's core business areas: research and technology, product and
Agencies will pitch to represent one or more of these divisions. IBM
will also reshuffle its in-house PR teams into the three areas. 'We are
looking at a PR model we think is fairly innovative and sophisticated,'
Among other consultancies, IBM currently uses Brodeur for work in its
software group, global services consulting arm and its personal systems
Manning Selvage & Lee works on software business and TSI works on
divisions including technology, products, sales and distribution.
Brodeur and TSI have both received RFPs and plan to bid for one or more
of the divisions.